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Full text of "I And Thou"

selves, as starting-point, are work and possession to be
released; only from the presence of spirit can meaning
and joy stream into all work, awe and sacrificial power
into all possession—filling them not to the brim .but
sufficiently; only from its presence can everything
that is worked and possessed, while remaining in
adherence to the world of It, yet be transfigured into
what is over against man—into the representation of
the Thou. There is no going backwards, but in the very
moment of deepest need a hitherto undreamt-of move-
ment forwards and outwards.
It does not matter if the State rules economics or is
given its authority by it, so long as both are unchanged.
It does matter if the organisation of the State becomes
freer and that of economics more equitable—but not
for the question asked here about the real life; they
certainly cannot become free and equitable with them-
selves as starting-point. It matters most of all if the
spirit which says Thou, which responds, remains by life
and reality, if that which is still interleaved "by spirit
in man's communal life is subjected to the State and to
economics or is independently effective, and if that of
spirit which still persists in man's personal life is re-
assimilated into the communal life. If communal
life were parcelled out into independent realms, one of
which is " the spiritual life ", this would certainly not be
done; that would only mean to give up once and for all
to tyranny the provinces that are sunk in the world
of It, and to rob the spirit completely of reality. For
the spirit is never independently effective in life in
itself alone, but in relation to the world: possessing
power that petmeates the world of It, transforming it.
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